SYDNEY SOCIAL FORUM
In September 2002 the first Sydney Social Forum (SSF) was held. The second SSF in October last year attracted over 400 people and the support of a variety of organisations.
The 2003 SSF was very happy to hear from guest speakers David Barsamian,
award-winning director of Alternative Radio in the US, Nicola Bullard, Deputy-director
of Focus on the Global South and Ariel Guides, representative from BMP (Solidarity
of Filipino Workers), the largest trade union congress in the Philippines.
As the social forum concept has grown - the World and European Social Forums
in particular mobilising tens of thousands of people - world events continue
to make such events necessary.
The war on Iraq has signalled an intensifying permanent war on the world's poor, adding more open unilateral military aggression to existing neo-liberal offensives conducted through organisations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organisation.
In Australia, the Howard government's enthusiastic support for US foreign policy has been accompanied by increasing attacks on public healthcare and higher education, the continuation of a deplorable refugee policy, and a push for wider deregulation and privatisation as part of a Free Trade Agreement with the US.
On the other side, the worldwide movement against the war in Iraq - and Sydney’s largest ever political demonstration in February 2003 - was also a spectacular expression of opposition to corporate greed and lack of democracy.
Within this context, the Sydney Social Forum seeks to provide an open space promoting solidarity and cooperation among the diversity of activist networks in Sydney, Australia and internationally.
The SSF aims to promote discussion of analyses of the state of the world, visions of an alternative world and strategies to get from one to the other. It also aims to facilitate discussion of the nature and significance of the international Social Forum movement, from the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre to the emerging regional and city-based Social Forums.
The Sydney Social Forum can only be a real success with the participation of a broad range of groups and individuals.
If you, your trade union, collective, community group or organisation would like to be part of the 2004 SSF, get in touch, get registered and get involved.